McDonald's Makes Champ Car Debut Tony Kanaan to Pilot ...
McDonald's Makes Champ Car Debut Tony Kanaan to Pilot #44 McDonald's Honda-Reynard
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Feb. 2, 1999) -- McDonald's Corporation today unveiled its new motorsports team during Championship Auto Racing Teams' (CART) opening day of Spring Training at Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex. The team, which is known as the McDonald's Championship Racing Team, will compete in the 1999 FedEx Championship Series.
The #44 McDonald's Honda-Reynard Champ Car is owned by Gerald Forsythe and driven by Tony Kanaan, a Brazilian native who was CART's 1998 FedEx Championship Series Rookie of the Year. The red, yellow and black McDonald's Champ Car, which will run on Firestone tires, will make its racing debut at CART's season opener, the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami, March 21 in Homestead.
"McDonald's is excited to be part of the CART series and to form a partnership with Gerald Forsythe," said Bill Korbus, McDonald's motorsports manager. "Race fans are McDonald's customers, and with CART having such a strong national and international following, we'll be able to deliver our fast, accurate and friendly service message to a worldwide audience."
Andrew Craig, president and CEO of CART, commented: "It's a great pleasure to welcome McDonald's to the FedEx Championship Series. CART's positioning as an American race series with worldwide appeal fits well with McDonald's, and we look forward to working with the McDonald's Championship Racing Team both in the U.S. and in McDonald's international markets."
The McDonald's Championship Racing Team was founded by Forsythe, and will be led by veteran team owner Steve Horne. Horne's organization, which guided Kanaan to a ninth-place finish in the FedEx Championship Series' PPG Cup point standings last season, will remain unchanged for the 1999 season after joining forces with Forsythe in January of this year.
"We are extremely proud to have formed a strategic partnership that brings McDonald's into Champ Car racing while allowing our operation to expand," said Forsythe. "The global profile that will come with this team will be great for everyone involved -- McDonald's, the series and our associate sponsors."
Forsythe first became involved in Champ Car racing in 1983. In addition to the McDonald's Championship Racing Team, the Forsythe racing empire includes Player's/Forsythe Racing, a two-car Champ Car effort with drivers Greg Moore and Patrick Carpentier.
Kanaan, 24, won the 1997 PPG-Firestone Indy Lights Championship before graduating to the FedEx Championship Series in 1998. "I am very happy and proud to be driving the McDonald's #44 Champ Car this season," said Kanaan. "McDonald's is a winning company and with the help of my Drive-Thru Crew, I hope to bring them success on the race track."
McDonald's Racing Team also includes sponsorship in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series with Bill Elliott, owner and driver of the #94 McDonald's Ford Taurus.
McDonald's is the world's largest and best-known global foodservice retailer, with more than 24,000 restaurants in 114 countries.